GIZ Pakistan as part of its commitment to mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda (SDG: achieve gender
equality and empower all women and girls), and alignment of personnel structure to have a
diversified workforce with adequate and balanced gender ratio, set the annual country objective
of initiating a Female Internship Program (FIP) at the beginning of 2018. The concept of FIP was
based on a similar practice of GIZ Ethiopia, which was further elaborated to offer Pakistani female
students an entry point to professional work and also GIZ an opportunity to get to know potential
future national female experts.
GIZ Pakistan implemented the FIP not only to support capacity development of qualified females
but also use the opportunity to spread awareness within the job market (as female interns would
become ambassadors) that GIZ is an equal opportunity organization and strongly encourages
eligible female applicants to apply and possibly work for GIZ.
The FIP concept was jointly elaborated and steered by the Gender Focal Person (GFP) and Head
of HR Section with the following main objectives (that was endorsed by the Country Management
▪ To enhance gender equality within GIZ Pakistan by balancing the staff composition.
▪ To contribute to the empowerment of female students and graduates in Pakistan
▪ To support Pakistani women finding entry points for future employment.
▪ To increase the GIZ Pakistan’s access to prospective employees.
▪ To improve the possibilities of GIZ Pakistan to successfully address gender aspects in the
communication and cooperation with the partners and therefore ensure GIZ Pakistan’s
potential to make full use of national resources.
The FIP was offered to all projects/programmes who shared Terms of Reference (TOR) for
potential female internship opportunities, which were compiled (11 in total) and jointly announced
(Annex I). After a transparent process, all 11 female interns joined GIZ Pakistan during the months
of August and September.
The FIP was designed differently than a usual internship opportunity at GIZ as there was a mentor
assigned to each intern, who had a different set of responsibilities (Annex II) as compared to the
supervisor. This approach was taken to ensure that the interns have a neutral source who can
offer guidance and the interns can feel free to share questions/issues as there was no hierarchical
The mentors were also provided orientation by GFP and HR before and during the course of their
role as mentors along with experience sharing, best practices, etc. for a collective learning and
identification of further key topics for capacity development of female interns.
In addition to capacity development through the internship and mentorship, a one-day capacity
development session (Annex III) was also organized and conducted through the help of national
and international experts who provided interactive orientation and short training to female interns
on the following key topics;
▪ Basics of development cooperation
▪ Project Cycle Management (PCM)
▪ GIZ Gender Strategy
▪ Role of an advisor
The purpose of the session was to offer female interns basic know-how on topics that could be
relevant for them for future possible employment whether that is with GIZ or outside GIZ.
Results & way forward
After successful piloting of the FIP, the Country Management agreed to continue the initiative for
another 2 phases. From the 1st phase, 1 female intern later on GIZ Pakistan in a band 2 position
as national staff (after a transparent recruitment & selection process), which confirmed that the
initiative was a success.
The 2nd phase of FIP had even more internship opportunities than before (23 in total), and the
number of mentors was also increased. For supporting the mentors, the initial concept was further
elaborated (Annex IV) based on experience of 1st phase to help enhance and broaden the scope
of their contribution towards capacity development of the female interns.
The capacity development session was also organized and conducted, and after completion of
the 2nd phase, 1 female intern joined GIZ Pakistan in a band 3 position as national staff (after a
transparent recruitment & selection process).
The 3rd phase of the FIP is currently ongoing and the results are awaited.
Impact on personnel structure of GIZ Pakistan
The intended positive impact of the FIP was achieved by GIZ Pakistan as the number of
applications from females have double as compared to before, which can be confirmed by simple
comparison of gender composition of GIZ Pakistan.
The gender ratio in GIZ Pakistan in April 2018 (before FIP initiative) was 86% male and 14%
female national staff (318). The current gender ratio as of November 2019 is 81% male and 19%
female national staff (326), which has been slowly and gradually balancing out in 1 year’s duration
and still shows further upward trend.
These results are very encouraging in the context of a country like Pakistan where access for
females to education is extremely limited, and availability of qualified females due to family
obligations is quite scarce in the job market.